Have an O2 mobile? Get free coffee, popcorn and cookies!


If you’ve got a mobile from O2 (or have one of their SIM cards to register the application), you’re entitled to some free stuff, thanks to their Priority Moments program (available as an app for Android and iOS, and as a web app for Blackberry and Windows Phone).

O2 Priority Moments logo

Their deals aren’t usually that great (the last good one was from HMV before they went into administration…), but they seem to have quite a few good ones to celebrate Easter. There was another offer for some free chocolate from Hotel Chocolat (ended today, unfortunately), but there’s a few more available to use up this week.

Free Coffee from Caffé Nero (valid until 26th March, so be quick!)

You get a free regular coffee (or hot chocolate or tea) from Caffé Nero with this offer – there’s no minimum spend, so just go into branch and grab your free drink.

The codes appear to be unique, plus there’s an animation on the bottom of the screen, so taking a screenshot isn’t going to work (not that you’d try that, of course!)

Free Popcorn, Nachos or a Hot Dog at Odeon (valid until 1st May)

You can get a free large popcorn, hot dog or nachos at Odeon with this offer – whilst there’s no minimum spend, I’m going to assume you’re probably going to be buying a cinema ticket whilst you’re there (unless you really like cinema food).

Two free brownie cookies at Millie’s Cookies (unknown)

I got an email with an offer for free brownie cookies from Millie’s Cookies, but it doesn’t seem to have appeared in the app yet. Hopefully it’ll turn up soon!

Not on O2?

Even if you’re not on O2, you can still use the Priority Moments app if you’ve got a Pay and Go SIM card from them: just install the app and validate it using the number you get texted (you might need to put the O2 SIM card in and install it, or sideload it if you’re using an Android phone, they’ve restricted the download to phones on O2, but once it’s installed, you can install it on new phones through Google Play). I’m not sure if you’ve got to have topped up before activating.

You can get a free sim through Top CashBack, and get £5.05 cashback when you top up £10: or for an even better deal you can get a Nokia 100 (in pink, the black ones have sold out) for £1 when you top up £10 with PrePayMania (visit Top CashBack before you checkout to get £5.05 cashback on top!)

Getting a copy of your credit report


When you’re applying for credit: whether that be a mortgage, an overdraft, a credit card, or even a mobile phone contract, your credit report will be checked by the lender to make sure that you’re a good credit risk.

Your credit report includes a history of the accounts that you’ve used in the past: from credit cards to bank accounts, each of these is reported back to one (or more) of the three Credit Reference Agencies in the UK.

You should check your credit report at least annually, just to make sure that nothing untoward is on there: if you don’t recognise something on your report, you could be the victim of identity fraud.


How can I check my report?

There’s a free service called Noddle, run by CallCredit, the smallest of the three credit reference agencies. This allows you to get a free copy of your credit report, as well as a score out of five. There’s also a few paid add-ons, but the free service is the easiest way to get a copy of your file from CallCredit.

There’s two more credit reference agencies (Equifax and Experian), which may have slightly different information about you. Unfortunately, neither of these offer a free service, and whilst both Equifax and Experian offer online credit monitoring (Credit Watch and Credit Expert), they both charge a monthly fee after the free trial is up: plus you usually have to go through a sales pitch over the phone to cancel.

For a small fee of £2, you can get a copy of your credit report, but without a score. For Equifax, you can view it online instantly, but for Experian, they’ll send you a code in the post if you request to view your report online: so it’s probably best to just ask for the whole thing by post.

You might also want to check whether credit monitoring is included with your credit card – some Capital One credit cards includes a limited version of Equifax Credit Watch that doesn’t include your credit score, but does let you refresh your credit report twice a year, and sends you alerts when your account changes.

Underground tips and tricks – 15 minute delay? Claim your fare back!


Sticking with the theme of travel, I’ve picked something that’s a bit closer to home. If you’re in London, then there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll be taking the London Underground to get around the city. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you save money, and get around easily.

London underground by doug88888

London underground by doug88888

Delayed by 15 minutes? Get a refund

If you’re delayed on the underground for more than 15 minutes, you can claim back the single Oyster fare for that journey. You just need to keep track of where and when you were delayed, and fill out an easy online form. If you use a form filling tool in your browser, it only takes a few seconds, and you’ll get a voucher in the post valid for 13 months which you can apply towards your Oyster PrePay balance, or towards the cost of a travelcard.

There’s even a free website which claims to detect when your commute is late: mytubewaslate.com, although it doesn’t seem to have detected anything for me, it has an automatic form filler tool.

There are some exclusions, such as strikes and planned closures, but in general, I’ve gotten money back for every journey I’ve claimed for.

Similar schemes apply for National Rail, DLR and Overground (30 minutes) services (and even on the cable car!), but there’s no refund available if your bus is delayed.

Have an annual pass or a railcard? Get a third off on your off-peak fares

If you’ve got a 16-25 railcard, you probably know that you save 1/3 on your off-peak rail fares, but the discount is also valid on the Underground too.

If you’ve got an annual tube pass, then the ‘gold record card’ that comes with it acts as a railcard within the South East: and also enables you to get the railcard discount.

To get this enabled, pop down to your local underground station: I’ve found that not all of them seem to know about the annual pass (gold card) discount, but the main train stations should be able to help you out. It would be much easier for TfL to automatically load the discount when you buy an annual ticket, but sadly they don’t do this.

Auto top-up your Oyster

It’s a pain to have to top up your card every time it runs out of cash, and there’s often a queue at peak times. Plus, if you run out of money on the bus, you’re going to have to pay the cash fare (unless you use your contactless credit or debit card).

According to a TfL report, only a third of Oyster users are aware of this useful feature – and only 7% have it enabled. It’s easy enough to do on the website after you’ve registered your card online: just choose the station and your top up amount.

A few caveats: it tops up £20 or £40 when your balance falls below £10, which might be too high an amount for some people, and it doesn’t work on buses: you’ll only get the auto top up when you’re on the tube.

Sign up on the TfL website

Cashback on your internet shopping


Whenever you’re shopping online, you might be missing out on some cashback (in addition to the 1% from your credit card!) if you’re not going through a cashback site. Cashback sites work by getting you to click through from a website before going through and making your purchase on the retailer you were originally going to go through. You then get the earnings a couple of weeks later.

Whilst the percentages seem small, it all adds up over time: I’ve earned around £250 a year just from making sure to click through before buying online.

There’s only really two ‘100%*’ cashback sites: and there’s only really minor differences between the two. Generally, both will offer the same companies and cashback, but there are exceptions, so make sure you check both before clicking through.

TopCashback: 1% bonus cashback, no annual fee, manual payments, ads

TopCashback is the main site I use for my cashback: it offers an additional 1% cashback versus Quidco, and there’s no £5 annual deduction from your earnings. You do need to request cashback payments manually though, but they do offer payment in Tesco Clubcard points, which you can redeem for 4x the value in restaurants (although in reality, this is probably more like 2x, since most of the restaurants in the offer have 50% off deals with Tastecard, and you can’t use the vouchers with any other offer). There are banner ads on each page – make sure not to click on these if you’re trying to get cashback.

Quidco: £5 annual fee, automatic payments
I love Quidco

Quidco was the first cashback site I signed up with a couple of years back, but it’s since been replaced by TopCashback as my main site, mainly due to the annual fee which is deducted from your cashback.

Tips and tricks

  • Read the terms and conditions for the retailer – some companies will only pay out for new customers only (e.g. Skype)
  • Don’t make your purchases based on the cashback – it’s not guaranteed to be paid out (although I’ve had a pretty good success rate)
  • Not all retailers offer cashback. Amazon is a good example of this
  • Some retailers may charge more for users clicking through from a cashback site. I’ve only seen this on Vistaprint and Charles Tyrwitt
  • Make sure that you don’t click on a banner ad/other link to a website after you’ve clicked through: these will override your cashback provider, meaning that the other site gets your money instead of you – this includes sites such as Hot UK Deals, who make their money by taking the cashback
  • Turn off any ad-blocking extensions you use in your browser. These may cause your purchases not to track by blocking the site used to track your purchase
  • If you’re using Chrome, it’s probably safest to use “incognito” mode (Ctrl + Shift + N) to ensure that no tracking cookies remain in your browser. You’ll need to log in to the site again though.
  • Once you’ve made your purchase, and are through to the final page, wait a few seconds before clicking through elsewhere or closing the window: often the tracking sites are a bit slower to load and are doing so in the background once the purchase is made
  • It takes a couple of weeks for the payment to go through, but your purchase should track after a few hours/days. This is so you can’t return the item and get cashback

I earn £10 for TopCashback users who reach £10 earnings, and £2.50 for Quidco users who reach £5 earnings. A donation equal to this amount will be made to a charity.

* ‘100%’ cashback sites refer to the base level of cashback the retailers pay – the cashback sites make additional money from performance related incentives, in addition to the annual fee/advertising revenue from banner ads.